Practical investigation of cricket dust supplements commonly used to enhance diets provided to insectivore species under human care.

Amphibians  and  reptiles  commonly  managed  under  human  care  are  commonly  fed  farmed  feeder  crickets  (Acheta  domesticus)  that  are  deficient  in  calcium.  Calcium  deficiency  can  lead  to  the  development  of  nutritional  metabolic  bone  disease  in  animals  consuming  the  crickets;  therefore,  feeder  crickets  are  commonly  supplemented  with  calcium  by  either  dusting  the  crickets’exoskeleton  or  by  providing  crickets  with  a  calcium  enriched  diet. ...

Understanding the interactions of diet and lighting on frogs and their symbiotic bacteria to improve ex situ husbandry of amphibians

Amphibians are undergoing massive population declines in the wild, in part due to infectious diseases including chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In response, amphibian populations are being maintained in ex situ breeding programs while viable treatments for chytridiomycosis are developed. One potential action involves the use of symbiotic bacteria from the skin of amphibians; however multiple...

Gut loading as a method to effectively supplement crickets with calcium and vitamin A

Limited quantities of vital nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A in crickets have led to the occurrence of diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia, metabolic bone disease (calcium deficiency) and more recently, squamous metaplasia or “short tongue syndrome” in amphibians. Gut loading has been an effective method to supplement feeder crickets with both calcium and vitamin A. A dose of...

Normal urinary mineral excretion levels in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

Metabolic bone disease has occurred in several incidences of elephant neonates hand-reared on milk replacement formula. Monitoring for metabolic bone disease historically has been done through serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations. Serum concentrations are tightly regulated and changes in concentration are typically not evident until skeletal changes have already occurred. Urinary calcium and phosphorus excretion levels may provide earlier evidence...

Study of calcium metabolism in captive elephants by means of feeding trail

Hypocalcemia in elephants is a concern that needs attention. Cases of calcium-responsive dystocia have been reported anecdotally and the number of bone fractures in hospitalized working elephants in Thailand is relatively high. A feeding trial in 4 Asian elephants at the Rotterdam zoo showed that an increase in the calcium concentration of the roughage resulted in a significant rise in...

Influence of diet on serum chemistry values in captive giraffe over four years

Over the past several years, herbivore diet formulations have transitioned toward lower starch and sugar and higher concentrations of structural carbohydrates such as neutral detergent fiber. Following the Giraffe Nutrition Workshop in 2005, recommendations were released that encouraged diets containing less than 5% starch and less than 0.5% phosphorus for captive giraffe. In December 2005, seven giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)...

Evaluation of nutrient composition of common invertebrate feeders fed different supplemental diets

While the complete nutrient composition of invertebrates commonly fed to insectivorous animals has been studied, research evaluating the differences among supplemental diets marketed to improve their overall nutrient composition is limited. Previous studies have focused on calcium intake in crickets, and to a lesser extent in mealworms, but diets for superworms have not been evaluated. This study evaluated the proximate...

The effect of terrarium size, egg crate area, stocking density, and time on cricket mortality and the ability to achieve a 1:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio

In order to provide a nutritionally adequate diet for captive insectivorous animals, invertebrates such as crickets and mealworms must be supplemented with calcium. Current methods of supplementation include dusting and gut-loading. The size of the terrarium, the area of egg crates within the terrarium, cricket stocking density, and length of time on the gut loading diet, may all play a...

The effect of a produce based gut loading diet on mineral and vitamin content of adult crickets (Acheta domestica)

Adequate supplementation of calcium and other nutrients including vitamin A is integral to successfully holding insectivorous amphibians and reptiles in captivity. Dusting and gut loading insects are two commonly used methods of supplementation. A produce based gut loading diet may be more palatable and thus may gut load more successfully and for an extended period of time. Adult crickets (Acheta...

Calcium gut loading of mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) and the benefit of gel water over apple slices for maximum calcium gut loading

The importance of gut loading insects with calcium is a critical component of an insectivorous animal’s diet. The insect used in this study for calcium supplementation was the regular mealworm (Tenebrio molitor). The standard operating procedure for most gut loading protocols includes feeding high-water produce items (i.e., apples, leafy green vegetables, etc.) in conjunction with a high calcium insect supplement....

Influence of diet transition on serum calcium and phosphorus in captive giraffe

Pathology in captive giraffe is relatively common and has often been attributed to nutritional causes. It was hypothesized that reducing dietary starch and phosphorus (P) would change serum mineral concentrations to be more in line with typical mammalian values. Captive giraffe (n=6, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha NE), previously fed a commercially available diet, were transitioned to a reduced starch diet...

Hypomagnesemia, hypocalcemia, and ruminitis in ungulates: an under-recognized syndrome?

Macro- and microminerals are critical in maintaining normal physiologic processes. Requirements for domestic ungulates have been documented and are available through the National Research Council (NRC). Normal values have not been established for most wildlife species. Due to specialized feeding habits, collection of baseline data for each species is needed to develop complete diets and detect nutritional diseases. Several cases...

Comparison of parathyroid hormone, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in serum and urine of nyala (Tragelaphus angassi) on concentrates or a forage only diet

The nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) herd at Busch Gardens Tampa has historically had one of the highest incidences of Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, Mptb) within the collection. A 10-yr epidemiologic review at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay revealed 27/83 (32.5%) Mptb culture positive individuals. At the time of this trial, 20/21 positive animals were also noted to be hypocalcemia. It was...

Calcium and insect gut-loading: the development of a protocol for achieving the best CA:P ratio for insectivorous animals

Commercially raised insects have inverse calcium to phosphorus ratio. Captive insectivorous animals are potentially at risk for metabolic bone disorders if the calcium to phosphorus ratio is not equalized. This is achieved through an active supplementation program where the feeder insect is given access to a calcium rich diet prior to ingestion by the insectivore. A zoo-wide insect supplementation survey...

A zoo-wide evaluation into the current feeder insect supplementation program at the Brookfield Zoo

Commercially raised insects are an important food source for captive animals. For those animals that are purely insectivorous, the nutrient concentrations of the food source are vitally important for the health and welfare of the animal, particularly the Ca to P ratio. In the summer of 2002, a zoo-wide evaluation of the current methods of insect supplementation was conducted at...

Effects of a high calcium diet on gut loading in varying ages of crickets (Acheta domestica) and mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)

Insects are a poor source of calcium. Consequently, it is a common practice for zoos to supplement them in order to provide a nutritionally balanced diet to many species. Current methods of supplementation include dusting and gut-loading. The experiment was conducted in order to determine the effect of a high calcium diet on gut loading in varying ages of crickets...

Pyramiding is not caused by excess calcium and/or phosphorus in young Red-eared sliders, Trachemys scripta elegans

Pyramiding, is a condition in which the scutes of the carapace of turtles become deformed and elevated, taking on a pyramid shape. Pyramiding is believed to be a nutritional problem, however its exact cause is unknown. Given that the turtle carapace is composed largely of bone, it was hypothesized that it may be caused by an imbalance in dietary calcium...